From alpha to beta, a game that communicates with its community.
Against the grain set by big budget productions, one studio goes above and beyond what AAA companies and most big name indie devs bother to do. We are Bundle Of Sticks Studios (B.O.S.S.), an indie team with a project we intend on releasing in a state that harkens back to the days of old when players weren’t bombarded with weekly patches for a released game. With dedication and resolve in making a game that is both fun and playable on release, we at B.O.S.S. have been adamant in our goal to release this space simulator in an ideal state. Intently listening to any and all feedback from the community, we invite and encourage players to give their honest thoughts and findings on the game, and after almost two years, we are finally ready to bring this game, Empires of Creation, into its Beta phase!
Oh Beta, My Beta
Even the brightest of diamonds needed to be polished to reach perfection.
So what does “beta” really mean? The idea of a beta seems to have been lost on much of today’s gaming community. Where many expect a game to always be perfect, that just isn’t so! Developers cannot make a perfect game without the help of people to test it. Anyone who goes into a game that is in either its alpha or beta stage should expect to encounter bugs, and a lot of them! In exchange for the opportunity to play the game early and be a part of development, the devs let a select handful play in its incomplete state in order to bring a healthy, bug-free game to the greater playerbase on release. In alpha, a game will be developing its core features such as combat, movement, quests, etc., while beta takes the game and polishes it to perfection for its release.
B.O.S.S. understands the purpose of beta and we intend to use the time to perfect our game for release. Our team constantly monitors the game’s comments, Steam page, social media, and even the YouTube videos made in order to take all the feedback and craft a product worthy of release. When players graciously take the time to document bugs, regardless of a game’s release state, we developers are more easily able to replicate the bugs and fix them to the benefit of everyone.
And sometimes, the community can have greater insight. Believe it or not, we aren’t all-knowing, and if the majority says something is wrong with the game, even conceptually, then something is probably wrong with the game. From bugs to balancing to even aesthetics, B.O.S.S. has always listened to its community’s feedback. A game is nothing without its community, and in our opinion, great developers always give the community a chance to voice their opinions.
A User Interface Tempered by the Community
The most prominent aspect the player has to deal with in a game is going to be the User Interface. A clean, well made UI is always going to make an integral difference in whether or not the player will enjoy their time. “[The] user Interface is EXTREMELY TINY making everything difficult to read.” “What is it with this font size 6?” These were real comments from the community that we took to heart to make the UI as enjoyable of an experience as possible.
Pew Pew Space Lasers!
In many games, battle sequences are a main part of the experience, meaning that its mechanics need to be fun and balanced. “Engagements seem to end far too quickly.” “Laser based ships feel like pointing a laser pointer at the enemy.” “I get constantly bumped by enemy fleet. Small little ships that are 1/4 of a size of my giant USS Enterprise are able to push my ship.” These are the embarrassing flaws in an alpha game that we were able to iron out early. The feedback from the community on the battle mechanics proved invaluable in balancing and general improvements. The team adjusted damage rates, speed, ship health, and many other factors to produce a fun and balanced combat system.
Objectives give meat to the game, a clear path on what you can actually do in the world the developers have created. “Some changes are required. These could include game objectives.” “There is nothing to do except clicking and shooting into dumb AI.” “There’s basically no game to play here . . . nothing to interact with.” Ouch, we hear ya! The team is happy to announce that the game now has six different types of dynamic missions with race-specific text and more exciting things to come!
“Its journey is never truly over, it’s merely the beginning of a new path.”
The team is actively working on producing a better game every day. While we have addressed a number of issues brought up by the community, there are still some things we are working on improving, for instance, our tutorial: “The tutorial doesn’t explain enough to get you through the game,” or, “Very incomprehensibly short tutorial that didn’t really teach me anything useful about the gameplay.” The tutorial has been a crux of the game for awhile, and is on high priority to address in the beta so players will have full knowledge of everything they can do.
With other projects on the horizon and EoC nearing its completion, B.O.S.S. will look back and remember the road they traveled, bettering themselves as creators and people to make a better future. The team at B.O.S.S invites you to share in this journey and its future. Come help us perfect Empires of Creation!
“To some the sky’s the limit, but to others it’s space and beyond”
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